Hello, ladies and gentlemen of Jalopnik, and welcome to the latest round of Letters to Doug, your favorite weekly Jalopnik column that includes both a) letters, and b) at least one insult of the first-generation Volkswagen Touareg.
If you’d like to participate in Letters to Doug, you are more than welcome to send me an e-mail at Letters2Doug@gmail.com. Although I cannot promise that I will respond to your letter on Jalopnik, I can promise that using this e-mail address will ensure that your letter reliably arrives at my home, which is more than I can say if you attempted to hand-deliver it in a first-generation Volkswagen Touareg.
Now, on to today’s letter, which is a unique New Year’s treat that comes to us from a reader I’ve named Horace. I’ve changed his name because it involves a very specific location. Horace writes:
I’ll skip the complements and go straight into my question.
There is an abandoned Porsche 911 in my parking garage. Abandoned! It’s a 2000 Porsche 911 carrera cabrolet and it’s been sitting for for over 2 years in the same spot.
My initial thought was “It must be stolen!” But I ran the Vin and no reports of it being stolen.
My second thought was “I bet a foreign exchange student (I live next to the University of Texas and sports cars owned by exchange students are a dime a dozen) left it here in America when no one wanted to buy it!” But then I ran the plate number and found out it was last titled to a guy who owns a chain of sand which shops in Colorado in 2014.
So what do I do? I can’t report it abandoned, they’ll take the poor thing away never to be seen again. Should I contact the owner and maybe offer him a price. Is there anyway to make this poor misunderstood work of broken egg whites mine? Legally?
I haven’t contacted the man but I think it’s the next step. I know it’s not going anywhere so I’m not worried about biding my time. Im just tired of the dust and penises all over it for the past 2 years. So many penises! Thank you Douglas, I’m sure you’ll know what to do (because you write about cars).
I’m so glad you’ve written in, Horace, because you’ve asked a question that recently piqued my own interest. I say this because I recently entered a garage here in Philadelphia and discovered an abandoned Mercedes SL600 just sitting there, suspension collapsed, dust gathering, convertible top ripped. I, too, ran the Carfax and discovered it had been parked for more than three years.
Intrigued, I perused the rest of the garage and discovered that the SL600 wasn’t the only car left in such a state: there was also an abandoned E38 BMW 7 Series in the exact same circumstances on another level. Later, I logged on to the garage’s website and discovered that these people are paying $240 per month to leave their abandoned luxury cars to collect dust. And I suspect the parking garage where that 911 is abandoned ain’t exactly free, eh, Horace?
So I’ve thought about this issue quite a bit recently, and I’ve come to a conclusion: this is the urban equivalent of parking old cars on your farm.
If you’ve ever spent any time out in the country, you know exactly what I mean. Farmer John bought a Chevy pickup in 1967, and then the engine seized in 1988, so he parked the ’67 behind his barn and bought a new ’88 K1500. Then he died in 2001 and his son Farmer Wes took over the ’88 Chevy truck, until 2005 when the engine finally gave up. Well, behind the barn it went, and now Farmer Wes is driving an ’05 Silverado with more miles on it than the Discovery.
So how does this relate to abandoned luxury cars in a parking garage?
Because this is exactly how these cars get abandoned.
The 2000 Porsche 911 you’ve photographed, Horace, has undoubtedly suffered from the famed Porsche 911 IMS failure, which requires an expensive engine replacement. Upon realizing this, Mr. Sandwich Shop had it towed back to his garage until he could “figure out what to do with it.” These days, he’s too busy slicing tomatoes to deal with some old Porsche – and so it sits. And it sits. And it sits. Just like the SL600 and the 7 Series in the garage I discovered.
So what do you do now? I’ll tell you what you do now: nothing. If I’m right and this Porsche had complete engine failure, you probably didn’t want it before it sat for two years. Now that it has been sitting around for so long, I believe its value is roughly equivalent to that of a ballpoint pen without ink, or possibly a clock radio without clock or radio functions.
In my case, it’s even worse: a 20-year-old SL600 with collapsed suspension that’s been sitting for three years? The person would have to pay me to take it away. Even then, I bet it could still win a reliability competition with a first-generation Volkswagen Touareg.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars, which his mother says is “fairly decent.” He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer.